All posts filed under: Reviews

Peterloo and the Realist tradition

Philip Roddis Worthy, sumptuously shot, convincingly acted and not without moments of insight – but a tad leaden. That’s my take on Mike Leigh’s new film, released November 2. I’ll give a more nuanced view in a moment but first a timeline, reverse chronology, in which Peterloo – the event, not the movie – can be framed: Orgreave 1984…Bloody Sunday 1972…Amritsar 1919…Peterloo 1819. It’s hardly a competition but the toll of fifteen sliced to death by mounted and sabre flailing yeomanry, many of them drunk, charging into the crowds at St Peter’s Field in Manchester on August 16, 1819, is dwarfed by that of 379 mown down at Amritsar’s Jallianwala Bagh, April 13, 1919. As are the fourteen shot dead by the Parachute Regiment in Derry’s Bogside on January 30, 1972 – while at Orgreave in June 1984, police in riot gear and supported by dogs killed no one at all when they attacked[1] striking miners, their livelihoods on the line. So why lump together events separated not only by centuries and continents, but by …

The Quiet Imperialism

Frank Lee reviews Beyond US Hegemony by Egyptian economist Samir Amin, who died earlier this year. This work was first published in 2006, but has been remarkably prescient in its evaluation of US strategic imperial policy before, and, a fortiori, after that date. Many, if not most, Americans and of course their Petainist vassals in Europe, have always been in denial about the imperial ambitions and practises of the US.

BBC Documentary – “A Dangerous Dynasty: House of Assad”

David Carlson I rarely watch anything on the BBC now and this first part in a three part character assassination of Bashar Assad is a testament as to why watching anything the BBC produces is as near perverse as some of their DJ’s. “Nick Greene”, the Grun states ” forensic excision of the tumour at the heart of Syria,” is about as sick as gaggle of Bishops at a Jimmy Saville party. The sickly female voice over 20 years ago would only be found on a childrens program explainingg basics of a subject to ten year olds but now, it seems, is standard fare for adults happy to accept such condescension. To start with the ommision of how Hafez Assad rescued Syria from American and French colonial interference that by policy was designed to keep Syria a fractured state of warring tribes is as I expected a deafening silence. That he came from a peasant family with nothing to be President that united his nation in a secular peace and a growing prosperity for all …

Review: Unprecedented Crime

The unprecedented crime Peter Carter and Elizabeth Woodworth refer to in the title is that of willfully causing global temperatures to rise, through greenhouse gas emissions, to levels already causing large-scale loss of life while threatening human survival and that of countless other species. They might with equal accuracy speak of crimes, plural, when those who from positions of authority either actively aid key offenders or, by failing to hold them to account, betray the trust placed in them.

The Fakest Fake News: The U.S. Government’s 9/11 Conspiracy Theory

Edward Curtin A Review of 9/11Unmasked: An International Review Panel Investigation by David Ray Griffin and Elizabeth Woodworth If you want to fathom today’s world, absolutely nothing is more important than to understand the truth about the attacks of September 11, 2001. This is the definitive book on the subject. For seventeen years we have been subjected to an onslaught of U.S. government and corporate media propaganda about 9/11 that has been used to support the “war on terror” that has resulted in millions of deaths around the world.  It has been used as a pretext to attack nations throughout the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. It has led to a great increase in Islamophobia since Muslims were accused of being responsible for the attacks. It has led to a crackdown on civil liberties in the United States, the exponential growth of a vast and costly national security apparatus, the spreading of fear and anxiety on a great scale, and a state of permanent war that is pushing the world toward a nuclear confrontation. …

Book Reviews: 9/11 Unmasked

Every year, at about this time, OffGuardian likes to cover the anniversary of 9/11, the most important “catalysing event” in modern history. And this year is no different. As part of this coverage, and in recognition of our willingness to discuss this often-controversial topic, we were invited to review 9/11 Unmasked, a new book from David Ray Griffin and Elizabeth Woodworth, focusing on the discrepancies in the official account of that fateful day 17 years ago. We reached out to trusted regular contributors and friends of the site based on their honesty, integrity and potentially contrasting points of view. The results are three different reviews, illustrating an interesting cross-section of opinions and experiences. Philip Roddis Two years ago, on the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, OffGuardian ran my review of Dylan Avery’s Loose Change. Except it wasn’t a review but a pouring of vitriol on the film’s central assertion that the events of September 11, 2001 were an inside job. Reception below the line was hostile. But among the cat-calls were voices I could not ignore: …

Seventeen Years on: what really happened on 9/11?

Philip Roddis Introduction On Friday, August 31, I had an email from OffGuardian editor Catte: How do you feel about reviewing a new 9/11 book for the anniversary? I know you’re a sceptic but that is why I’d value your input … Two years ago, on the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, OffGuardian ran my review of Dylan Avery’s Loose Change. Except it wasn’t a review but a pouring of vitriol on the film’s central assertion that the events of September 11, 2001 were an inside job. Reception below the line was hostile. But among the cat-calls were voices I could not ignore: voices of reason from dudes who’d done their homework and whose tones were sober; friendly even. I promised to re-assess the truther case and return either to concede and apologise or reaffirm my views with better arguments. I gave no date but strongly and at the time sincerely implied it would be a few months tops. Not two years. Why the delay? I’m not afraid of saying, I was wrong. I’ve had practise …

9/11 Unmasked by David Ray Griffin and Elizabeth Woodworth: A Review

Piers Robinson Although not a topic for polite conversation, nor a widely recognized ‘acceptable’ issue for mainstream academics and journalists, the issue of 9/11 and the multiple questions that persist with respect to this transformative event continue to bubble under the surface. 9/11 ushered in the global ‘war on terror’, shaping the geo-political agenda of Western governments for almost two decades now and having a deleterious impact on civil liberties across Western liberal democratic states. Torture has been used as part of official policy and there is bulk data collection and surveillance of entire populations. In recent years, further information has come into the public domain, via the UK Chilcot report regarding the formative stages of the post 9/11 ‘war on terror’: Within days of 9/11 having occurred a British embassy cable reported that ‘the “regime-change hawks” in Washington are arguing that a coalition put together for one purpose (against international terrorism) could be used to clear up other problems in the region’; Chilcot also published a Bush-Blair communication from the aftermath of 9/11 which …

A Diabolic False Flag Empire: A Review of David Ray Griffin’s The American Trajectory: Divine or Demonic?

Edward Curtin The past is not dead; it is people who are sleeping. The current night and daymares that we are having arise out of murders lodged deep in our past that have continued into the present. No amount of feigned amnesia will erase the bloody truth of American history, the cheap grace we bestow upon ourselves. We have, as Harold Pinter said in his Nobel address, been feeding on “a vast tapestry of lies” that surrounds us, lies uttered by nihilistic leaders and their media mouthpieces for a very long time. We have, or should have, bad consciences for not acknowledging being active or silent accomplices in the suppression of truth and the vicious murdering of millions at home and abroad. But, as Pinter said, “I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.” No one is more emblematic of this noble …

The Economics of Imperialism

by Philip Roddis, via Steel City Scribblings The most important book I’ve read in years is John Smith’s Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation and Capitalism’s Final Crisis. Here’s an abridged extract from its opening words: The collapse of Rana Plaza, an eight-story building housing textile factories, a bank and shops in an industrial district north of Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, on 24 April 2013, killing 1,133 garment workers and wounding 2,500, was one of the worst workplace disasters in history. This disaster, and workers’ grief, rage, and demands for justice, stirred sympathy and solidarity from working people around the world— and a frantic damage-limitation exercise by the giant corporations that rely on Bangladeshi factories for their products yet deny any responsibility for the atrocious wages, living, and working conditions of those who produce all their stuff. Adding to the sense of outrage is the fact that, the day before, cracks had opened in the building’s structure. An initial inspection resulted in its evacuation and a recommendation that it remain closed. Next morning a bank and …

Adam Curtis: another manager of perceptions

by Jonathan Cook Adam Curtis’ new, near three-hour documentary HyperNormalisation, showing on BBC iplayer, is being garlanded with predictable praise from liberal commentators. As ever, Curtis joins the dots in interesting, and sometimes compelling, ways. But HyperNormalisation also continues a trend by Curtis of using his insights to present a deeply conservative, disempowering and ultimately false impression of the world. His recent films have been premised on the notion that our societies are driven almost exclusively by a struggle of ever-more complex ideas, often dangerous ones, and only marginally by economic forces. As it has become ever harder to find plausible solutions to an increasingly inter-connected world, and as western leaders have become ever more lost in the moral and ideological darkness of modern life, those who have excelled are the usual suspects – from Syria’s Assad and Putin’s Russia to Donald Trump. HyperNormalisation is best when it deals with “perception management”. The west’s repeated reinventions of Libya’s Col Gaddafi – first as a bogeyman, then as a hero, then as a bogeyman again, depending …